Let’s face it. The last two years have held more than their fair share of potential joy-busting events. If you’ve had some moments where joy felt scarce then rest assured, you are not alone. 

When my gorgeous friend, Culture and Lifestyle editor for BayBuzz, Michal McKay, called to ask if I’d write some words around ‘finding joy’ I immediately agreed. The joy mission had begun. Read on to imbibe fully in this god-given, immune boosting, life-enhancing gift. JOY 

Scouring the length and breadth of beautiful Hawke’s Bay I began my research, asking those who crossed my path the question: “What brings you joy?” 

The first thing I can report is that this question has also brought me much joy. Filled my cup to overflowing. You should try it. I sit here tapping away filled with the visceral memory of this gift that keeps on giving. Finding Joy. 

The Good News? It would seem that the old adage – ‘the best things in life are free’ – is true. Let me report back on a few joyful gems from some of the people you might meet when you are walking down the street in Hawke’s Bay. 

Linda Calder, Havelock North safari designer at Getaway Solutions, talked of friends and family, humour, tunes and travel. She reflected on the retrospective joy of getting out of her comfort zone. 

Piri Galbraith, owner of Pōrangahau Dairy and ketone queen, said she wakes up every morning with gratitude for all that she has … her home, the view, whānau, exercise, her businesses and having a sense of purpose and passion that drives her to fulfil each day. 

Suzi Wright, Elsthorpe mumma and beautician, said she’s been finding joy in quiet moments where she can sit in wonder and awe of nature. She shared a story of sitting at Kairākau Beach with her two children watching the waves. 

Aaron Gregory, Puketapu Welding contractor, finds joy in being content in the moment. His happy places are the bush and forest and the ocean. His tools to get there are deeply rooted in his spiritual practices. These include allowing space and time to connect with his breath and reside with his heart centre and energetic clearing, cleansing and charging practises. Science-backed practices that he has studied and practiced for many years. 

Bronson Tither, Wairoa founder of youth organisation Motorv8shin Aotearoa, shared the feeling of daily deliberately flooding his system with gratitude. 

Of being present appreciating the simple joys of family and serving community. Daily yoga, meditation, exercise, reading and studying are central to his life. 

Pia Russell, Bayview caterer, said she gets joy from everything she can lay her hands on. Walking her dogs. Cookbooks. Foraging food from her garden. Cooking and sharing food with family and friends. Her happy place is her home and in anyone else’s kitchen. 

Suse Robinson Gardener from Haumoana said she gets joy in a garden. She shared the saying “Plant a garden and watch it grow”. She also added with a cheeky grin some other things that I won’t go into right now. 

Jack Jensen, Hastings founder of MSFT Productions, said being in the moment, extreme sports missions (motor cross, mountain biking, surfing and snowboarding), ‘frothing’ in the outdoors and ‘sending it’ with his epic tribe. 

Raina Ferris, Pōrangahau founder of Kurawaka Retreat, said stepping out with her hair dyed multi colours and watching people greet her with a smile. Living with a heart filled with gratitude for all things and bringing joy to others. Cuddles from her mokopuna, being able to be just her. Sharing her wisdom. Having faith with all things.

While I delved deep into the research of lettered academics from esteemed universities on the science of joy, it seems we already know. 

Being in nature. Spending time with uplifting people. Taking time to reflect. Pray. Be still and notice. Living with a purpose. Music. Movement. Living off the land. Serving others. Taking time to breathe and be. Consciously committing to looking for joy. 

The hardest part? To remember to do this when life feels intense. 

Joseph Campbell tells us to “find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain”. 

Your mission if you choose to accept it is to look for joy. In the mundane and the miracles. To wrap it around you like a blanket. To marinade in the health giving properties it carries. 

You know what to do. You’ve done it before. Go to it, treasures. Do the world a favour … find joy. And leave a trail of it in your wake. 

Kate McLeay is a mindfulness mentor, yoga teacher and retreat host based out at Cape South Country Estate and Wellness Retreat.  www.katemcleay.com


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  1. Wow, loved these comments Katie. Joy Joy Joy to the universe is a song we sing.singing brings joy too. Nga mihi Beautiful wahine.

    1. I thought Kate had the perfect formula but then you add a big one – singing. I sing a lot and for years without thinking about it. Then I realised it way my way of releasing the stress and keeing the self-loathing at bay. Sing your life.

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